EATON — Even on an off shooting night, Eaton’s girls’ basketball team was able to do just enough to pull away from a determined Brookville team to claim its 10th win of the season.
Eaton used an 11-1 run over the final four minutes to claim a 39-27 win at Brookville on Saturday, Jan. 4.
Earlier in the week, Eaton rolled to a 58-29 win at Oakwood.
With the wins, Eaton is now 10-1 overall and 5-1 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division.
“I’d like to congratulate Coach Stephanie Hawkins on the job she is doing with Brookville. They play very hard and did a great job of fighting their way back into this game,” Eaton coach Dave Honhart said. “We played great defense in the first half and they went to halftime having only scored four points. Many teams would have been hanging their heads and letting up on defense. They didn’t, and eventually they managed to find some good shots against us. They kept fighting and twice had our lead down to two points in the fourth quarter. I was proud of our players for making some nice plays down the stretch to secure the win, but the job that the Brookville players and coaching staff are doing needs to be acknowledged.”
Eaton jumped out to a 7-2 lead after the first quarter and held a 15-4 lead at halftime. Eaton’s lead was 24-17 after three.
The Eagles shot just 8-for-40 over the first three quarters.
“As for us, we had a rough shooting day. Brookville’s defense had a lot to do with that. We missed Lexi Miller (out with an injury). Not just her stats, but her understanding of how to play the game, her decision making and her ability to defend both inside and outside,” Honhart said. “We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve shot the ball well. Today we didn’t, but we got the job done defensively, which is always our first priority.”
In the fourth, Eaton shot the ball better, making 7-of-10 shots.
But Brookville still closed the gap to a 26-24 with 6:25 left and was down just 28-26 with 4:39 to play.
From there, the Eagles forced the Blue Devils into seven turnovers while limiting them to just two shots.
Freshmen Lily Shepherd scored seven of her team-high 14 points in the final two minutes of the game.
“Lily Shepherd had her highest scoring game so far, and she’s really been starting to figure things out lately, so its good to see her have some success and help us get this win,” Honhart said. “Olivia Baumann and Bailey Shepherd also had big buckets down the stretch that allowed us to close the game on an 11-1 run over the last four minutes.”
Bailey Shepherd finished with 10 points. Baumann, a freshman, added six points, six steals and four rebounds.
Sophomore Allison Mowen had five steals, four assists and three points. Senior Ashley Earley added five steals.
Honhart said his team will face some tough competition over the next few weeks.
“We have some challenging games in front of us, starting with Oakwood on Thursday, and it will be important to have some outstanding practices as we prepare,” he said. “I’d also really like to thank our fans and family for their continued support. We needed them today and their positive energy coming from the stands definitely helped.”
Against Oakwood, on Monday, Dec. 30, Eaton got off to a fast start and never looked back.
“I think that is one of the most complete games we have played, especially from a competitive standpoint,” Honhart said. “For Oakwood, the loss of Margie Conrath definitely hurt them, but they are very well-coached, they play extremely hard and they play together very well, and they have a lot of strong players, so to go into The Pit and walk away with a solid win is something to be proud of. It is not an easy place to play as a visitor, yet at the same time, its one of the most unique venues around, so it is always fun to play there.”
Eaton led 11-4 after one was up 27-18 at the half.
The third quarter proved to be the difference with the Eagles outscoring the Jills 15-2 to take a 42-20 lead.
“I thought our players did a great job of building up a lead and withstanding several Oakwood runs in the second quarter as they tried to fight their way back into the game. We talked at halftime about taking our defense and determination to attack the rim to new levels in the second half, and I thought that our players really responded. The third quarter (15-2) was decisive, and I felt like our players stayed hungry throughout the game.”
Oakwood used multiple defenses to try and slow the Eagles.
“Oakwood mixed things up defensively and tried some different combinations defenses that we had not seen before. I thought our players did a great job of figuring things out as a team and finding ways to attack,” Honhart said. “As a coach, my goal is to teach my team how to be player-led because ultimately they are the ones who have to make plays and create on the court. It is exciting to see the way our players are taking ownership and embracing putting offensive concepts that we teach into play, rather than just leaning on Xs and Os. It’s definitely a mark of a good team, and I’m excited to see some of the things we work on at practice showing up in games.”
Bailey Shepherd led Eaton with 22 points, seven assists, six steals and six rebounds.
Earley had seven points, three assists and three rebounds. Mowen finished with six points. Sophomore Mara Posey had six points, two steals and two rebounds. Lily Shepherd added six points, while junior Kylee Kidwell tossed in five points and had four rebounds. Senior Rilee Worley pulled down six rebounds.
Honhart said his team is now heading into its third quarter of the season.
“This completes our “Second Quarter” of the season at 4-1. Our players set a goal of winning at least three of these five games, so for them to exceed their goal is a reflection of their hard work at practice and their willingness to buy into a team concept,” he said. “Now we start to go around the league for the second time. This part of the schedule can become a grind, as basketball is a long season, and second games against league opponents are often possession-by-possession battles, however, I also think it is exciting to measure your improvement against the improvement of other teams. We’ve beaten some good teams in the first half of the season, so we know they’ll be trying to return the favor, it will be important to maintain a sharp edge when it comes to preparation and competitive readiness.”
Eaton is scheduled to host Oakwood on Thursday, Jan. 9 and Monroe on Saturday, Jan. 11.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH